A nice thing about dotting i's and crossing t's on a book manuscript just a few short months before its publication date is that you (I) (WE!!) have only those few short months to wait between its once-and-for-all completion and the day we'll get to hold it in our hands. Stir: My Broken Brain and the Meals that Brought Me Home will be out on June 23. Forget "few." As of today, that's NEXT MONTH.

So, uh, would you like to see the cover?

It is the work of the very talented Alison Forner, and I could not love it more. When the e-mail with this cover attached landed in my inbox, I was so nervous, I couldn't open it. I forwarded it along to Eli with the message, "I'm sending this without opening. Please tell me what you think." Then, as soon as I hit send, I opened the file myself. Because as nervous as I was, I was even more curious. I stared. Maybe book covers are like newborns, where no matter how wrinkly, alien-like, and oldman-ish yours is, you think she's the most beautiful child in the world. Maybe - but I doubt it.

Stir is available now for pre-order, and some early reviewers have even started reading it and saying nice things. There is nothing about the previous sentence that doesn't blow my mind. And fill me head-to-toe with gratitude for you, you, YOU. Thank you, friends. Thank you. For helping me carve out a place to start, a place to come back to, where I could learn how to try and how to believe. My publisher is in the process of putting together a book tour with stops on both coasts and a couple in between. I sincerely hope you'll come out so I can meet you in person, and look you in the eye as we chat without this screen between us.

Stir's release date bounced around a bit, and while I'm quite content for it to be coming out just as summer goes into full swing - I don't know about you, but summer makes me hungry for books - it occurred to me recently that it's a little bit of a shame it won't be out until after Mother's Day. Because yes, yes, Stir is about illness, recovery, food, love, and beginnings in unexpected places. But, though I didn't realize it until my editor told me so, it is also very much about women and mothers: how the mothers and mother-like people in our lives take care of us, each in the way she knows best, how our mothers show us who we are, who we are not, and who we might become. "All these women!" my editor said, and she was right. She flipped through the pages on her desk and called them out: my mother, my stepmother, my great-great aunt, my grandmother, my mother-in-law. And, without giving too much away, one (lovable?) protagonist who, when disaster strikes, is juuuust beginning to think about what it might mean to be a mother one day herself. I couldn't believe I hadn't noticed. 

So! How's this for a plan? If you'd like, please go ahead and pre-order Stir for your mothers. (And stepmothers! Definitely stepmothers. Amy is a hero of this book.) The book won't arrive until late June, but to the first 150 people who pre-order, I'll send a small gift that will arrive before Mother's Day next week. (Continental U.S. only, please.)

The gift is a set of five postcards featuring glossy photos of several recipes from Stir on one side, and your typical "I'm a postcard! Write on me and drop me in the mail!" design on the back. They just arrived today from the printer. The paper is thick and heavy and feels nice to write on and, if I do say so, the photos turned out beautifully. (The images in this post are three of the five designs.) I'll also include a personalized, handwritten card and package everything up so that it looks nice and pretty.

Here's what to do:

1. Pre-order Stir from anywhere you please, including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Google Play, iBooks, IndieBound, and Kobo, to name a few. You'll need your order number as proof of purchase.

2. Complete this short form

That's it! 

Of course, if you want the postcards for yourself, or if you'd like me to send them to someone without any mention of Mother's Day, that's more than fine by me. You can specify everything according to your preferences on the form. If you've already pre-ordered Stir (THANK YOU!! No, really, THANK YOU!!!!!), you're still eligible to receive the postcards. Just look up your old order number and you're all set. One more thing: if you do want the postcards for Mother's Day, I'll need your order in by 5:00pm (PDT) / 8:00pm (EDT) on Sunday, May 3, so that I have time to write all the cards, pack everything up, and get it in the mail in time. 

And away we go! Writing things down here makes them feel real. I know I've said it before. It's true.